The League of Women Voters of Hawaii strongly supports this bill that would move the administration of the medical marijuana program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health.
In October 2009 the League of Women Voters of Hawaii adopted a Drug Policy Position based on our recently completed, Hawaii Drug Policy Study. A copy of the study is attached to this testimony and page 21 discusses in detail a Public Health Approach.
A pivotal question in the drug policy debate is whether substance abuse and drug addiction should be housed primarily in the province of the criminal justice system, or in the domain of public health. A transition toward the latter emphasis would require the evolution of policies and the channeling of resources not only for incarceration-based responses to drug related issues, but also for responses focused on lessening the harm associated with drug abuse by reducing associated rates of death, disease, crime and suffering. Currently in the United States and in Hawaii approximately two-thirds of the resources targeting drug-related issues are dedicated to the criminal justice system.
We urge your support. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on this bill.